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Michigan State University (MSU) was founded over 150 years ago. Today, over 10,000 academic and support staff serve more than 50,000 students. MSU was ranked by Times Higher Education as one of the top 100 universities in the world, and in the top 8% of universities in the United States. To continue their commitment to world-class education, the university decided it was time to modernize their communication capabilities.

Challenge

Michigan State University was relying on an outdated analog communication system that could no longer meet the demands of the organization and was becoming too expensive to maintain. The university was interested in the advanced features of an IP telephony solution that were not available with their current system. MSU was looking to modernize all the existing analog and digital phones to IP while also deploying new IP phones in additional locations. However, the university was concerned with the requirements to upgrade the existing network infrastructure to support the new IP system. The existing voice solution was supported by a CAT3 infrastructure that the university was not willing to rip-and-replace due to concerns of:

  • High costs and permit complications to renovate the older buildings on campus
  • Significantly extended project timelines due to a network overhaul
  • Months of daily disruptions to over 60,000 staff and students
  • Installing hundreds of IDF closets on campus to support the new IP phones exactly where they were needed

Solution

While attending the Avaya ENGAGE show, Michigan State University was introduced to Avaya DevConnect Technology Partner NVT Phybridge. Given the customer’s needs, Avaya was confident in recommending Modern LAN Principles and the NVT Phybridge PoLRE® (Power over Long Reach Ethernet) switch solution. The award-winning PoLRE switch, with SmartPathPoE™ technology, transforms any new or existing CAT3 voice infrastructure into a secure and reliable IP path with power. MSU was impressed with the technology but was unsure if the solution would work in their environment given the immense scale of the project.

NVT Phybridge assisted the university in organizing a no-obligation proof-of-concept to test the solution on campus. After a few simple setup steps, the PoLRE switch transformed the existing and proven voice infrastructure into a robust IP backbone for the new Avaya IP phones. With reach capabilities up to 1,200ft/365m (4 times farther than standard PoE switches), the university could connect their new Avaya IP phones exactly where they were needed without installing IDF closets along the way. Additionally, upgrading multiple buildings on campus would be simple and fast with PoLRE’s repeatable, predictable and scalable deployment methodology.

“The port locking feature on the PoLRE switch has helped us track phone moves for e911 reporting requirements” – Nick Kwiatkowski, Unified Communications Manager at Michigan State University

Result

Thanks to the PoLRE switch, Michigan State University was able to simplify their digital transformation by avoiding years of re-cabling and construction work. The university was able to deploy over 4,000 new Avaya IP phones in buildings where it would have never been possible. “Our older buildings did not have a communication room within 300ft of where we needed the new IP phones. PoLRE’s long reach capabilities allowed us to support the new IP phones exactly where we needed them while connecting each one back to a central location”, said Nicholas Kwiatkowski, Unified Communications Manager at Michigan State University. “PoLRE allowed us to maintain our physically separate network for voice, ensuring our emergency communication system remains operational in the event of a power outage or other event”. By leveraging Modern LAN design principles and innovative switch technologies, MSU was able to:

Improving Outcomes for Customers and Partners

Avaya and NVT Phybridge took a pro-active approach to find new and better ways to support the customer’s IP modernization objectives in a financially and socially responsible manner. By applying Modern LAN Principles and leveraging innovative switch technology, Avaya was able to:

  • Accelerate and increase revenue recognition
  • Collapse sales and deployment cycles
  • Improve their margin
  • Differentiate their market offering with thought leadership and innovation
  • Deliver a great user experience

Learn more about how Avaya and NVT Phybridge are helping organizations simplify and accelerate their upgrade to IP and the Internet of Things

This successful project was recognized by IoTG (Internet of Things to the Power of Green), an association of businesses that support and recognize responsible digital transformations. Using an innovative analytical tool to measure environmental impact, Michigan State University received the highest rating, 5 stars, for their environmentally responsible modernization to IP.

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Congratulations to Billy Smith and Thomas Mangano of Avaya for winning the IoT Pioneer Award for helping a large school district simplify infrastructure requirements and modernize to IP communication. Smith and Mangano changed the conversation around traditional LAN design philosophies with Modern LAN principles to improve the outcome of the customer’s digital transformation. Using new Modern LAN design principles and NVT Phybridge long reach PoE innovations, Smith and Mangano’s solution is expected to help the school district:

  • Reduce total infrastructure costs by more than $4 million
  • Reduce total deployment time by 80%
  • Prevent approximately 42 tons of e-waste during their modernization to IP

Change the Conversation; Improve the Outcome For You and Your Customers

Rethink traditional LAN design philosophies with Frost & Sullivan’s new Modern LAN principles to increase and accelerate revenue recognition, collapse sales and deployment cycles, and eliminate infrastructure barriers as your customers modernize to IP. Learn more

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Legacy communication networks suffer from limited functionality, which in turn results in frustrations and inefficiencies for management and staff. These frustrations can have an extremely negative trickle-down effect on the customer or patient experience. A large healthcare system decided it was time to solve this issue; to modernize their communication system in several locations across the Northwestern US, including multiple medical centers, critical access hospitals, and medical clinics. In this case, one of the top concerns was operational efficiency, and the legacy CS1000 platform was becoming increasingly inefficient and extremely costly to maintain.

However, the customer struggled with establishing an IP local area network to support the new system. The process would be extremely costly, time-consuming, and complex, as each location would have to rip-and-replace the existing CAT3 infrastructure with new Ethernet. Additionally, extensive power and cooling upgrades were required in hundreds of IDF closets to support even more standard reach PoE switches. Upgrading the cabling and IDF closets would be extremely disruptive to business and would significantly lower the patient and visitor experience. These network upgrades left the customer frustrated and uncertain how to proceed, forcing the project to be delayed indefinitely.

The healthcare system decided to change the conversation around traditional LAN design thinking and apply Modern LAN principles. The customer learned about the NVT Phybridge PoLRE® (Power over Long Reach Ethernet) switch, with SmartPathPoE™ technology, and decided to test the solution. In a few simple setup steps, the PoLRE switch transformed the existing CAT3 voice infrastructure into a robust and reliable IP backbone for the new IP communication system. Thanks to PoLRE’s long reach capabilities, the customer was able to connect IP devices up to 1,200ft (365m) – 4 times farther than standard PoE switches – helping them support IP phones exactly where they were needed without installing IDF closets. Upgrading across multiple locations is simple with PoLRE‘s repeatable, predictable and scalable deployment methodology.

This large healthcare system deployed over 900 IP phones without replacing the existing cabling infrastructure and without installing any new IDF closets, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars and eliminating operational disruption. This successful project was recognized by IoT(Internet of Things to the Power of Green), an association of businesses that support and recognize responsible digital transformations. Using an innovative analytic tool to measure environmental responsibility, the large healthcare system received the highest rating, 5 stars, for their exceptional transformation.

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